Hey everyone. I was talking to a colleague from the writing community last night as we enjoyed a few social drinks with mutual friends at the end of what was an excellent cultural event we got round to the subject of my transition and the impact it has had on my life.
I said that it was the best decision I had ever made and I had no regrets bar possibly one and that as I have said many times in the past was not doing sooner. I say this due the fact I was 47 by the time I started on my journey in the winter of 2008/2009. My colleague said that though she could understand where I was coming from that perspectivele reason it took the time I did was because to make such a life changing journey takes courage and you have to wait until you are emotionally ready. And you know, the more I think about it, the more I realise how right she is.
I mean there are so many factors to take in to consideration on making a decision like this it is no wonder that so many of us put off until tomorrow what we should have done many yesterday’s ago. I have always held the belief that there is a lot of truth in the old saying ‘he who hesitates is lost’ this is however even more truth in my version of it which is ‘she who procrastinates too much is guilty of over thinking’. Trust me I did a lot of over thinking and came up with far too many reasons to put off till tomorrow a decision I know with hindsight, which is that most wonderful of gifts I should have made sooner.
On saying this my colleague said that my journey started at the right time for the right reason and that reason was that I was in the place where I was emotionally ready to face the challenges that come from such a decision. There had however been a few false starts along the way and many times I thought about it but lacked the confidence to make the change I knew I needed to make and which ultimately saved my sanity and very possibly my life.
Who or what do I blame for my procrastination? Is it my family, The Scotland of the 1970’s which shaped my formative years, the press and media, my neighbours, transphobia, macho culture, drag queens, John Knox, all of them, or none of the above? The answer is I suggest slightly too complex to blame one particular factor or circumstance but let’s say all were at play in a Scotland which was a lot more conservative and traditionalist than it is now.
Having to hide my identity and keep my feelings under wraps was not easy. This is especially true for someone who though biologically male was in my mind very definitely female and loved the company of girls and women from an early age. Indeed I was often dismissed as a sissy by male relatives for daring to show even the slightest sign of emotion. This in the McMacho culture of my 1970’s youth was all too often perceived as a weakness in males and had to be drummed out of them no matter what.
Naturally I did try as hard as I could to fit in to this alien world but harder I tried the more I knew I didn’t fit and that this world could never be my world. Even when I was sitting in the stands at Celtic Park I had my tights and panties on under my trousers and had more often than not just the slightest hint of foundation. Of course these were never obvious to the males in the seats around me though some female supporters did make an intelligent guess that there was something going on. How any males would have reacted I know not though some I’m sure would have been fine. The girls however were if anything supportive and one in particular would give me some ‘advice’ on what she thought I ‘needed ‘ to know’.
This advice turned out to be invaluable especially in the longer term. So I know you’ll be asking did I fancy any of the players and I’m going to fess up and admit that I did. I held my season book for five season from 1997-1998 to 2001-2002. These were the years of the best looking Celtic side in the history of the club so of course I fancied some of the players I would have been mad not to. I also have to say my lust wasn’t confined to my own team, I also fancied some players who didn’t play for the hoops. I may not have been able to admit this at the time but I can now. As for who those players are, well there some things a lady never reveals.
Not being able to be honest as I would like also had a detrimental impact on my writing especially during the period from 1995-1998. The fact that this period coincided with the first three years of my degree makes it convenient for me to say that my studies caused my writers block. This however is nonsense I know what caused my writers block and that was suppressing my natural feelings and instincts. Time after time I would write a new poem or diary entry on my longing to be a woman only to rip it up or delete from my computer for fear of it being discovered by people in my family who shall we say would not have been inclined to be supportive.
That fear of shame or indeed ridicule by people who are shall we say not the brightest bulbs in the light factory was another major factor in continuing to fight against all my natural instincts and live in my birth gender. Gradually however, circumstances changed and I slowly but steadily began to reach to a place from which I knew there could be no return.
On the night I finally came out to the world and conquered once and for all my fear of what others would think it felt like a massive weight had been lifted from my shoulders. For the first time in my life I could just be me and I didn’t need to worry about anyone else. Confident and happy I was emotionally ready to be the woman I had always known I was born to be. Yes there would be challenges but I would face them the only way I knew and deal with them with honesty and integrity.
It’s six and half years since that fateful night, now just three weeks short of my 54th birthday I realise that though it had been tougher than I had imagined to take that leap of faith once I got used to the mundane aspects of living as a woman in my more nature years like realising unlike many cross dressers, that your not in your early 20’s nor indeed would you want to be )the pressures on today’s young women are greater than they’ve ever been) like knowing that your body does experience pain and it’s not over sharing to say so, like being proud of yourself not because of what you’ve done but what you can still do, and enjoying life just because you can. Then it really is easier than some of feeble fearties to use a political term which is popular in Scotland would tell you. And you know, the easier it is the more enjoyable it becomes I love being a woman even with all the tears and transphobia it can and does occasionally bring. I love it not because of the outfits I can wear but the laughs I can share and the friendships of other women who can always offer me a helping hand or word of advice whenever they think I need it.
You know it was a very intelligent young woman I am proud to call a friend, yes I do mean you Stephanie Boyle, who once told me that she was very proud of me and admired the way I lived my life. Before I could ask her why, the bold Stephanie said it takes real bravery and commitment to live as a woman as there are too many males with outdated attitudes who wouldn’t even try to understand my need to change my gender. The importance of that last comment isn’t that some males don’t understand it is that Stephanie and many other twenty something women do and have given me the support I’ve needed every step of the way. This is something for which I will always be very grateful and if I sound like a gushing auntie that’s because in some girl’s eyes they’ve allowed me the chance to be one.
As I said I love being a woman, I love everything about it. I think one of main reasons is I waited so long before taking the step so I appreciate the little things that others may miss. I waited till I was emotionally ready to make my safer and funnily enough it seemed to work. What I do mean by emotionally ready well I waited till I knew the time was right.
If I could finish this post with only one analogy it would be this one, if you think on the planning and preparation a woman will make for a night out, compared to that of most men this to me sums up the difference between the sexes. It can also sum up the difference between a transvestite and a transwoman. You see for some getting dressed is a ten minute job but a woman takes time to get ready.
Love And Best Wishes